Death, the one appointment we all must keep, and for which no time is set ~ Charlie Chan
We have had a fair amount of loss in the community over the last couple weeks, and each one has been so shocking because of the unexpected circumstances.
– The son-in-law of a co-worker in a tragic accident, leaving a wife and 5 children (with one on the way)
– A former co-worker of a heart attack
– A former customer of mine and student of the college, had a massive stroke and leaves 7 children (3 of which are under the age of 18)
I was even brought the news that a 30-year-old young man that my daughters went to school with died from complications from surgery, and a neighbor from our previous homestead community passed away.
All so tragic and so terribly sad. The moccasin telegraph along with social networking sites spread the word of these deaths quickly, alerting friends and family alike to the untimely deaths of people we knew and, in some instances, did not know directly, but which affects us nonetheless.
Living on the Rez, death seems to come as a common occurrence. Don’t think of that as a crass and unfeeling statement, but rather as a view of what I have come to accept living up here. We are a small community, and when tragedies such as these – so many in such a short time – happen, it can be overwhelming. If you let it.
I think about each of these people and how they either touched my life or the life of someone I know. I reach back into my memory banks and relive my memories of those that I did know. It’s like opening a book and reading the chapters of my life and the parts where each of them fit it.
And the hardest part of all of it? Knowing exactly what each one of their loved ones is going through at this time, because I have been there. I have walked in their shoes. This is a time of anger, sadness and unknowing. It is a time of unimaginable grief that you think you will never be able to get rid of. And in a small way, you never do. Those memories of good times and bad will always be there. But the pain, oh that horrible pain, can be all consuming. But it will ease over time.
If you allow it to.
When I think of those young kids that would always greet me with a smile and a hug whenever they saw me, having to witness their Mother’s passing, I just want to curl up into a ball and cry. And then I think about the wonderful way that she raised them, with such love, compassion and self-worth, and I know that they are strong. They will get through this rough time in their life.
Just like the rest of us who have had to endure the passing of those that we have known and loved in our lives.
As Mr. Chan says, there is no set time for death. And in a way I am happy for that, because if there were, we wouldn’t be able to live every day to it’s fullest.
And enjoy living.